As an entrepreneur you must have heard, and for good reason, that stakeowners invest in promoters rather than the business. Stakeowners are not just your investors. They are your customers, partners, vendors and all interested parties. Smart founders can convert a fledgling thought into a profitable enterprise. On the other hand, sparkling ideas can go down the drain for the want of proper implementation.
So, what characteristics together make successful entrepreneurs?
1. Ambition. This actually goes without saying. The seeds of achievement are contained in your drive to go from one step to the other without being bogged down by obstacles.
In the long run, you do not grow
bigger than your dreams.
– Swati Sinha, Eurion Constellation
2. Initiative. Ambition alone can take you only this far. So, take action. Successful entrepreneurs are self- starters. They do not wait for the perfect opportunity to present itself. They create opportunities. Most importantly, they do not procrastinate.
3. Risk-taking. Rash execution is a recipe for disaster, but calculated risks are essential for enterprise success. Imagine there is a new customer segment that you want to tap, but are not sure about. By sitting on fence, you may lose a potential new customer segment. Entering the market, on the other hand, means you could lose money due to tepid response. What will you do? Here’s is an example of a calculated risk. You will first run a pilot test to gauge the market response to your product. This way you will be committing only limited resources before deciding the future course of action.
If you are not a risk taker, you should
get the hell out of business.
– Ray Kroc, McDonald’s
4. Industriousness. There is no substitute for hard work. The best of ideas will remain just ideas unless backed by solid execution. Work-life balance is important, but there is time for that. When you are starting from scratch, do not look at your watch every now and then.
If you are passionate about something
and you work hard,
then I think you will be successful.
– Pierre Omidyar, eBay
5. Persistence. One of the first questions that you should ask yourself even before deciding to take the plunge is, “How persistence am I?” If you ever thought that obstacles are only a part of the teething troubles, you are wrong. Problems can take even the most well-established businesses by surprise. Whether you can survive the storms in the external business environment may well decide if you will remain in the game. At the same time, do not overlook the internal kinetics.
6. Innovation. Are you creative? You better be because, that is the key to finding innovative solutions to your market’s need. And, creative answers provide you your unique selling proposition. Innovation is not a choice, it is a necessity. Take it as an ongoing quest for betterment rather than a one-time project.
If things are failing,
you are not innovating enough.
– Elon Musk, Tesla/SpaceX
7. Adaptability. There is a long list of the once thriving companies that went out of business because they failed to adapt. They remained fixed to the idea that their products were still relevant even when the ground beneath was shifting. You must remain flexible to change with the changing customer preferences and broader business scenario. Remember, adaptability is a function of persistence and creativity. You must be able to weather the change and find unorthodox solutions to deal with it.
8. Future-Orientation. Forward thinking is a two-pronged strategy – planning how your business will grow and estimating what the markets will look like in medium to long term. This includes keeping an eye on the news affecting global economy. Of course, there will still be unexpected surprises, but the informed choices you have made along the way and the tweaks you built in will help you sail.
Forward thinking companies that adapt positively
to the sustainable business agenda will be
at the forefront of resource productivity,
reducing waste and of environmental reporting.
They and their management teams make things
happen ahead of their competitors.
– Michael Meacher, Educator and Politician
Entrepreneurs are created, not born. The traits for success can be cultivated and it’s never too late to start.